Since the dawn of the 21st century, the French band Gojira has emerged as one of the shining new lights in terms of modern metal with their own unique blend of musically progressive elements intertwined with death metal ferocity. With Opeth, Mastodon, Lamb of God, Meshuggah and others as their contemporaries, Gojira has stood tall as one of the most technically impressive bands in the history of the genre both live and on record. This is a countdown of their albums, from best to worst (or least best, in the case of Gojira).
1) ‘From Mars to Sirius’
I feel as if I would be doing the album itself as well as Gojira’s discography in general an enormous disservice if I were to put any other of the band’s albums at #1. ‘From Mars to Sirius’ has a serious claim at being one of the best metal albums released so far in the 21st century, with “Backbone”, “Flying Whales”, and “The Heaviest Matter of the Universe” being some of its standout songs. ‘Sirius’ is Gojira’s ‘Master of Puppets’ and consequently is an album that you should check out, if you have not heard it before. If you need any convincing, the Hellfest 2013 version of “Where Dragons Dwell” should be enough to win you over for good.
To some people it might seem a bit odd having a band’s most recent release this high up on a countdown of their albums, but in the case of Gojira’s 2016 release ‘Magma’ it is absolutely deserved. A noteworthy example of an album that I feel you must see songs from played live before you really appreciate it, the focus of ‘Magma’ on instrumental technicality and its epically grand scale as opposed to simply violent death metal made it one of the year’s best, in addition to the fact that “Silvera” and “Stranded” are perfect gateway songs to get a casual Metallica or Slipknot fan into Gojira’s music full time.
3) ‘L’Enfant Sauvage’
‘L’Enfant Sauvage’ (translated as ‘the wild child’ in English) could be seen as Gojira’s first steps on the journey they went with ‘Magma’, while still retaining much of the death metal influence that some believe was lost on their 2016 release that they had throughout their discography up until that particular point. One of the more musically streamlined releases that the band has put out over the course of their career, ‘L’Enfant Sauvage’ remains one of their high-end records, and one you’ll always guarantee to see songs from played live. The title track and “Born in Winter” are the obvious standout moments on the album, but it is definitely a body of work that I recommend delving deeper into in order to discover what it’s really about.
4) ‘The Link’
A band’s second album is never an easy feat, with some bands getting their sophomore release bang on the money whereas others seem to fall short of delivering what they had previously given. ‘The Link’ seems to fall in the middle of that spectrum, as songs like “Wisdom Comes”, for example, are still performed live by Gojira to this day, but at the same time this album feels like a precursor to the bigger and better things that the band would go on to do in the future, such as ‘From Mars to Sirius’ and ‘Magma’. Certainly not a bad album in and of itself, but when up against some of the other records in Gojira’s discography it is understandable why ‘The Link’ has been ranked here.
5) ‘The Way of All Flesh’
Like I said before about bands having to repeatedly deliver quality albums is absolutely accurate here, in the case of having to follow ‘From Mars to Sirius’. ‘The Way of All Flesh’ could be interpreted by some as Gojira’s most instrumentally technical and fleshed out piece of work, with its bizarre guitar-based rhythms and the most experimental Joe Duplantier had ever gotten at this point in the band’s career in terms of vocal techniques and what he could do with his signature growl that sits perfectly alongside the band’s music. One of the few problems with a discography as timeless and as impenetrable as Gojira’s is that finding negative intricacies can often come across as if I think these lower-down-on-the-list albums are bad – they’re not: they’re just the smaller fish in the big Gojira pond.
6) ‘Terra Incognita’
And here we are with the final album to discuss – Gojira’s debut record ‘Terra Incognita’. Of course at the time of this album no one had any realistic expectations whatsoever in terms of what a young French extreme metal band would be able to accomplish with their musical output, so ‘Terra Incognita’ maybe would have just come and gone at the time of its release, and only really gotten some genuine appreciation from listeners once the Gojira name started to gain significance and after becoming one of the 21st century’s premiere heavier metal bands. In my opinion, however, ‘Terra Incognita’ lacks what Gojira would later adapt as the key positive traits that have carried their better albums to become some of the most staggering slabs of metal you’ll here anywhere in the modern metal scene.